Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Gerrard given freedom of borough

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard grew up in Huyton

Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard has become only the fifth person to be honoured with the freedom of his home borough.

The 28-year-old midfielder was given the award in Knowsley in recognition of his contribution to football and for being a role model.

Council leader Ron Round said the special honour was for "truly exceptional individuals".

Gerrard said he was "really flattered" to be given the award.

Councillor Round said: "He is an excellent ambassador for Knowsley and a great role model.

"His story is one of talent, commitment and passion which has seen him grow into a world-class player.

"It sends a message out to young people everywhere that with hard work and persistence, they too can realise their dreams."

Gerrard was born and grew up on Huyton's Bluebell Estate.

He started his footballing life playing for Whiston Juniors, before being spotted by a Liverpool scout at the age of eight.

He said: "I'm very proud of my background, it's certainly helped me get to where I am today.

"Growing up on the streets of Huyton, I'll never forget where I came from.

"I think only four people have this so I am really flattered."

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